Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about TRAIN #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about TRAIN

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Once I got the train rolling, however, there would be no screeching to a stop. All the pentup frustration churned out. My finger poked his shoulder. Davis flinched.

Vicki Batman


Paired with comfortable seating areas draped with Mexican blankets, throw pillows in a wide array of materials and colors, farmhouse side tables painted in shades of white, blue, and yellow, and the candles—hundreds of candles in varying containers and sizes, the whole thing should have looked like a train wreck, but he had to admit he liked it.

Jacquie Biggar
My Girl (Work in Progress)


“The tracks. We slid off the road, and mom’s car is sitting right up against the tracks. If a train comes, Daniel . . .”

Claire Gem


Such a talented and accomplished horsewoman, yet when it came to her personal life? According to rumors, she was a train wreck.

Kathryn Jane


Together they examined the train tracks in the area where Nadia’s body was found.

Marian Lanouette


Doubts and questions rumbled through her brain like a train on a continuous loop of track.

Marsha West


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Right Character Names

By Joanne Guidoccio

“How attached are you to the name Anna May?”

Sandy Isaac’s question took me and six other members of the critique group by surprise. While I appreciated most of the suggestions I had received, I wondered about Sandy’s question. Anna May Godfrey is one of the villains in A Season for Killing Blondes. Having spent several years in Anna May’s company, I wasn’t prepared to change her name.

Sandy noticed my hesitation and explained her resistance to the name. Said quickly, Anna May becomes “anime,” a style of animation often featuring themes intended for an adult audience. Two of the other members nodded while five of us merely shrugged. But Sandy’s concern raised several questions in my mind.

How would my readers respond?

Would they make the same connection as Sandy?

Would Anna May’s name suit or hinder her villain status?

A well-chosen name sets the right tone for the character and, in some cases, may even suggest certain physical, emotional, or psychological characteristics. James Bond flows well and suggests excitement and wealth while Scarlett O’Hara conjures up images of plantations and Southern belles. Short one-syllable names like Jane Eyre suggest direct and well-grounded personalities while longer, multi-syllabic names like Anna Karenina and Armand Gamache are often associated with more complex personalities.

I have a preference for certain names, in particular, the apostle names, Luke and Paul. Patricia Anderson, one of my beta readers, pointed out that I had used Paolo, Paula and Pauline for three different characters in the novel. Definitely overkill. I had no problems changing the names of these secondary characters: Paula → Belinda and Pauline → Karen.

While researching, I discovered the following tips:

  • Avoid names that end in “s.” If you give a character a name like Gladys or James, you will have an awkward time when you write the possessive form.
  • Use names to fit the period or ethnic group. I had no problems coming up with Italian names. For the older characters, I borrowed from my mother’s circle of friends. And for the younger crowd, I flipped through my yearbooks.
  • Limit the use of weird or exotic names. Many science fiction and historical romance writers spend considerable time finding unusual names that jump off the pages of their novels. When they indulge their creative freedom and create names, they run the risk of introducing names that are awkward and unpronounceable.
  • Watch the flow with first names and surnames. The first name should not end with the same sound as the last name. For example: Nelson Neufeld. But combining common first names with unusual surnames (or vice versa) can be very effective. Examples: Victor Frankenstein and Sirius Black.
  • Don’t worry too much about the meanings behind names, especially if you have become overly attached to your characters. Lesson learned: Research the names before investing too much time and energy in the manuscript.

BTW…I decided to stick with Anna May.

Hours before the opening of her career counseling practice, Gilda Greco discovers the dead body of golden girl Carrie Ann Godfrey, neatly arranged in the dumpster outside her office. Gilda’s life and budding career are stalled as Detective Carlo Fantin, her former high school crush, conducts the investigation.

When three more dead blondes turn up all brutally strangled and deposited near Gilda’s favorite haunts, she is pegged as a prime suspect for the murders. Frustrated by Carlo’s chilly detective persona and the mean girl antics of Carrie Ann’s meddling relatives, Gilda decides to launch her own investigation. She discovers a gaggle of suspects, among them a yoga instructor in need of anger management training, a lecherous photographer, and fourteen ex-boyfriends.

As the puzzle pieces fall into place, shocking revelations emerge, forcing Gilda to confront the envy and deceit she has long overlooked.

On sale for 99 cents … September 13 – September 27

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about AIRPLANE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about AIRPLANE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Pete grabbed a second donut. “Why did Kells go up to Maine? And how’d he pay for the flight?”

Sharon Wray


With a “humpf,” I dragged my pink tote up the narrow aisle to the plane’s exit, accidentally banging it into the sides of the seats along the way. The relieving notion of being back home in Sommerville caused the tension in my chest to fade a smidgen.

Vicki Batman


He noticed Adam’s fascination with the string and steel rainbow-colored art installation hanging from the ceiling. “At the right angle, it looks like an airplane. Plexus C18, I think it’s called, by Gabriel Dawes. Took ninety miles of thread, can you believe it?”

Jacquie Biggar


The difference was that the entire display board was red, with all flights cancelled. Mercy honestly believed Reagan’s plane was the last one to hit the runway before they shut the terminal down.

Claire Gem


Eight months pregnant with the twins, Tania hadn’t been able to hop on a plane and assist her mother.

Joanne Guidoccio


There was one plane and a helicopter inside…and a dead guy.

Kathryn Jane


“You’ve spent a lot on not only tuition, Commissioner, but on clothing, theater tickets, travel, and more,” Jake said.

Marian Lanouette


The clouds parted around the wing of the plane giving a magnificent view of the bay and rows of beach homes along the coast line. I itched to get down there, dig my toes in the sand, and experience everything Sydney had to offer.

S.A.Taylor
Follow Me (work in progress)


As the plane sailed into the air at that heart-stopping take-off angle, she gazed through her window one last time at the Fort Worth skyline.

Marsha West


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-care. What if…

by Kathryn Jane

Something we all, yep ALL, need to pay attention to no matter what our circumstances, is self-care.

We live in a world brimming with information, watching bad news from around the world, and being exposed to a great deal of negativity minute by minute. In some ways this is good as we can see that in the grand scheme of things, a roof over our heads and food on our tables puts us among the fortunate.

Still, there is pressure. Pressure to be the best we can be at our jobs, and within our families. Employers and family need us, depend on us in every possible way. We can’t let them down. But apparently, we are letting ourselves down.

We stay late at work without extra pay, we stay up long past bedtime doing laundry, and we get up earlier than the rest so we can prep lunches. We eat the burnt toast, the stale crust, and the smallest portion of desert.

We are super-women, and we shine at it.

 

Until.

Until the tank is suddenly empty and we don’t know how it happened.

Until we find ourselves at the wrong place to pick up a kid, in the wrong chat group to vent about our boss, or getting pulled over for speeding through a playground zone—because our thoughts were somewhere else.

Until we’re tossing and turning at three in the morning unable to shut our minds down so we can sleep.

Time for some self care.

Sure, right, okay, but how the heck can we combat the burnout if we can’t give up any of our responsibilities?

Self … care.

Which means?

Many things.

Self-care can be getting a massage once a month, , stopping for an ice-cream, dancing to a favorite song, or taking ten minutes every day to just sit in the garden and do nothing.

Or it can be as simple and silly as a game I started for myself the other day.

What if.

What if a genie popped out of a bottle and granted me one very specific wish which was:

You have up to 3 days to enjoy a single experience as long as it is not about meeting or talking to someone… as part of the wish, you will be granted whatever physical ability you will need.

Here’s a list of ideas I built for myself in about ten minutes.

  • Ride in the Kentucky Derby or the Grand National
  • Go on an African safari
  • Swim with whales
  • Interact with lions or tigers in their natural habitat
  • Attend a Streisand concert
  • Hike Machu Picchu
  • Attend the Edinburgh Tattoo

 

And this is a list I built while trying to guess what my friends would choose:

  • A Broadway show
  • A Paris fashion show
  • Climb Mount Everest
  • A Vegas show
  • The Great Wall of China
  • The Pyramids
  • Superbowl
  • Olympics
  • Ski the Alps
  • A French Chateau
  • A Scottish Castle
  • Desert Island
  • Great Barrier Reef

So… how about you? Join in my little self-care game and share what you might choose if my genie granted you the same wish.


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Kat loves crisp sunny days, the warm breath of a horse, cats with a sense of humor, the briny scent of the ocean, and her very own charming prince—in no particular order.   http://kathrynjane.com

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about JUDGE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about JUDGE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


His mother, the best judge of character her knew, trusted Jil.

Marsha West


This quiet time between the moon’s sleep and the sun’s awakening was Etienne’s favorite part of the day. Few people were out, and no one was around to judge.

Sharon Wray


Olga’s anger had burned. She’d acted like judge and jury without giving Maggie the benefit of a doubt. It hurt.

Jacquie Biggar


It felt so good to spill her demons on someone who wouldn’t judge her for the hatred she felt for her ex. She sobbed into the crook of his neck.

Claire Gem


Knowing Adele, she had judged the information to be either irrelevant or too embarrassing to share.

Joanne Guidoccio


He shook his head with an amused expression. “Against my better judgement, I’ll be in shortly.”

Kathryn Jane


But I wouldn’t judge the reputation of the girl on one spiteful comment. If it bothers you that much, find out the truth.”

Marian Lanouette


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Rejection to Spectacular Success

By Joanne Guidoccio

While querying the Gilda Greco Mystery Series, I kept myself motivated by reading the success stories that started with stacks of rejection slips.

Here is one of my favorite success stories:

In 1992, teacher and motivational speaker Jack Canfield decided to compile all the stories he had shared on the self-help circuit. Intrigued, promoter and salesman Mark Victor Hansen joined this venture.

While culling his stories, Jack searched for narratives that were “inspiring, healing, motivational, and transformational.” Jack wanted to include 70 stories but was persuaded to increase the number to 101. During his years as a student ambassador in India, Mark had learned that 101 is the number of completion.

The title “Chicken Soup” appeared to Jack in a dream: The hand of God scrawled these words across a chalkboard.

Once the first volume was completed, Jack and Mark found an agent and flew to New York to meet with publishers.

They struck out.

None of the publishers could relate to these “positive yarns.”

Their agent suggested they obtain guarantees that at least 20,000 copies of the book would sell. A daunting task but one that the two men were able to accomplish within months. They placed “Commitment to Buy” forms on the chairs of every motivational conference they attended.

These inked promises from audience members persuaded Peter Vegso at HCI (a publishing house in Florida) to release the first anthology in the summer of 1993.

Since that time, more than 250 books have been published and over 500 million copies sold. In 1999, the series made its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for having the most books on the New York Times Best-Sellers List at one time.This past Tuesday, Chicken Soup for the Soul released Angels All Around: 101 Inspirational Stories of Miracles, Divine Intervention, and Answered Prayers. My essay, “Prayers and Positive Thoughts,” was selected as one of the 101 stories for this anthology.

Blurb

In this book of 101 inspirational stories, contributors share their personal angel experiences of faith, miracles, and answered prayers, which will amaze and inspire you.

More than what we experience, it’s often the memory of who we experience that lasts. And sometimes, we experience an angel. You will be awed and inspired by these true personal stories from people who are certain that there are angels right here on earth. They know this, because they’ve met them, and if you open your eyes, and your heart, you may find that angels don’t live too far away after all.

Excerpt from Prayers and Positive Thoughts

“Are you praying?”

In many circumstances, this question would be deemed intrusive and inappropriate. But considering the source—my mother—I didn’t take offense. If anything, I was embarrassed to admit that prayer was the furthest thing from my mind.

Over a month had passed since the specialist oncologist had delivered the diagnosis: Inflammatory Breast Cancer, Stage IIIB. While I had shared the stage, I had kept those first three words to myself. I didn’t want family and friends Googling IBC and discovering the seriousness of the diagnosis. In 2004, the five-year survival rate for IBC was 30 percent. As for the ten- and fifteen-year survival rates, the percentages were in the single digits and not even worth considering

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Entertaining?

Do you like to entertain? Do you do it often? Do you do it in your house/apartment/condo or restaurant? For you writers, do you put entertainment scenes in your stories? Usually, I put questions at the end of these posts, but this seemed right this time.

Over our married life, we’ve done more and less entertaining. As a younger married, I can remember having “dinner parties.” Six to eight of us. I did the whole meal back when I actually cooked and didn’t just set out the food. 😊 It was stressful but fun. IMG_1256

Then there were years where we were working such long hours, the idea of entertaining anyone in our home was beyond considering. Now that we’ve moved to the lake, we’ve moved into another phase where we entertain every couple of months. One of the things I missed after we left our old neighborhood, where we’d lived for over twenty years, was our neighborhood coffees. Many of us took turns having folks over for a Saturday coffee. These were lots of fun and pretty easy to do.

After we got settled here, I asked some of the neighbors I’d met to come by on a Saturday morning, and we chatted, snacked, and drank coffee and iced tea. Folks were curious to see what we’d done with our lake cottage which had still been mostly in the 50s when we bought it. Quite a transformation. (But that’s a post for another time.) IMG_1023

People liked the idea and several folks signed up to host. The first year we had three other coffees after ours. This is the second year, and every month is spoken for. Several folks have specifically thanked me for getting these started. This past Saturday was our turn to host. It was fun to catch up on people’s lives as opposed to waving as we pass by.

The other way we entertain is with church friends. We have something called Dinner for 8 every month. People host in their homes or in a restaurant. It’s just a chance to get folks together for more time to really talk. Because we feel we have been blessed with our cottage on the lake, we frequently host at our house. This is really simple (after getting the house cleaned up), we provide the main dish and everyone else brings something. One of the things we do is take a selfie of everyone together. Always lots of laughter trying to make that happen.

IMG_1164

(Confession: None of these pics are from the events I’ve described. Apparently, other than taking the selfie at the end, I’ve not taken other pictures. That will change. LOL )

When I first began writing, my critique partners criticized me for always having my characters eating. I struggled to cut back, but really, we spend a lot of time with others eating. Seven books later, I don’t worry about it quite so much. 😊

So, do you like to entertain? Do you do it often? Do you do it in your house/apartment/condo or restaurant. For you writers, do you put entertainment scenes in your stories? Love to hear from you.

Pic at very top is the Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF SURVIVAL

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about SENTENCE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about SENTENCE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


In midsentence her pen halted, the air thickened and the oxygen whooshed from her lungs as the news anchor announced her friend Callie’s name in the same sentence as murder.

Marian Lanouette


“You told me once it wasn’t just sex–”
“We made love,” Scott completed her sentence.

Marsha West


Nate picked up his coat and gun. “What about Jack?” Cassio responded, “If you come with me, your lord will be free from the death sentence.”

Sharon Wray


His hold on me tightened as he whispered in my ear, “I’m hungry.” That phrase.

Vicki Batman


His words were cut off mid-sentence, the stunned shock turning his face into a clownish mask of pain.

Jacquie Biggar


Mercy knew when Reagan’s sentences deteriorated into single words, he was done. He’d retreated into that dark, hidden place where he lived most of the time since . . . then.

Claire Gem


Her sentence was a lighter one, and she would be out soon. Too soon.

Joanne Guidoccio


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art and Grace of a Gratitude Journal

Previously on this blog I’ve written about the benefits of keeping a journal. Today I’d like to expand on that.

There are many types of journals–diaries, travel journals, food journals, etc, but there’s another kind of journal that does more than keep track of your life. There’s a journaling practice that’s been proven to reduce stress and improve happiness. It’s known as Gratitude Journaling.

There’s no doubt that every day we’re bombarded with negative images and messages. Everything in the world is (and always has been) dire. Everyone is stressed. And all of us eventually have to do things like pay taxes and attend funerals. If we only listened to the world around us, we’d never believe that anything good ever happens. We’d only believe that life is hard and then it’s over.

But there’s another way to look at life. Despite all of the difficulties found in adulting, there are also good times. There are weddings and comedy clubs and birthday parties. There’s the surprise reunion with an old friend and a last minute cup of tea with your neighbor who just happened to bring over homemade cookies warm from the oven.

A Gratitude Journal is one of those things in life that’s simple yet not easy. (Like dieting!) It’s nothing more than a daily record of your blessings, of things you’re grateful for, or even just the things that made you smile. It’s an accounting of the good things and people and moments of your life. Keeping a gratitude journal takes you out of the chaos in your head and allows you to clearly see the truth of your life, not what the mass media want you to believe.

There are no rules to keeping a gratitude journal. On simple way is to start by keeping a notebook by your bedside table and every night, before you go to sleep, write down five things you’re grateful for. It could be as simple as the fact the leftovers you had for dinner tasted better the second night. Or the unexpected text message with smiling emojis you received from a friend. It doesn’t matter what the five things are, just that you mentally review your day and record them.

Here are a few ideas to help you succeed:

  1. Write frequently, at least three times a week. Daily is even better. Regardless of how often you journal, pick a time of day and a place in which to work and be consistent. Do you want to journal in bed before going to sleep? During lunch in the patio behind your office building? Before dinner while your food is in the oven? Just pick one that works for you!
  2. While you’re recording these five things, be as specific as possible. When you read the entry over later, you don’t want to just remember the event or moment. You want to remember the emotions associated with it. Being specific amplifies gratitude. Saying you’re grateful that your neighbor brought over homemade cookies after she heard about your horrible day at work brings forth more emotions than just saying you appreciate your neighbors.
  3. Record events and moments that were complete surprises and how grateful you are for what happened. I don’t mean just surprise parties. It’s more about unexpected moments like someone paying for you coffee or a pretty card received in the mail.
  4. If you find yourself being grateful every day for the same thing (and that’s okay!), try to focus on a different aspect of this thing so you can elicit a different emotion. When good things happen, we often experience multiple emotions. See if you can describe the hidden ones.
  5. Treat all of these recordable events as gifts. Not like birthday presents, but like small gifts you weren’t expecting. Treating these moments like gifts helps foster gratitude.
  6. Don’t be afraid to list negative things that you’re grateful for. Sometimes negative things are a blessing in disguise, although it may take us time to realize that. But when you do suddenly realize why you didn’t get that job or why that person you dated once didn’t call you back is actually a good thing, write it down!
  7. Keep it pretty. This is not a rule, just a suggestion. By using different colored pens and washi tape and adding in small photos and postcards, etc, the journal becomes even more personal. Besides, sometimes it’s fun to write in different colors! For those who don’t like to decorate, choose a journal with paper you love and the perfect pen. When you love what you’re writing with, it becomes a joy instead of a chore.

Do you keep a gratitude journal? I’d love to know in the comments!


 

Sharon Wray is a librarian who once studied dress design in the couture houses of Paris and now writes about the men in her Deadly Force romantic suspense series where ex-Green Berets meet their match in smart, sexy heroines who teach these alpha males that Grace always defeats Reckoning.

Her acclaimed debut book EVERY DEEP DESIRE, a sexy, action-packed retelling of Romeo and Juliet, is about an ex-Green Beret determined to regain his honor, his freedom, and his wife.

Her second book, ONE DARK WISH, will come out September 24, 2019 and is available for preorder here: Amazon |  Barnes and Noble Books-a-Million | iBooks |  Google

EVERY DEEP DESIRE is available on: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | IndieBoundKobo|  Google

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about WEAPON #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about WEAPON

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


While I enjoyed watching celebrity chefs brandishing knives on television, I wasn’t comfortable being in close range with potential weapons.

Joanne Guidoccio


“All that hardware—doesn’t it bother you to carry it?”

“It would bother me more if I had a situation and didn’t have my weapons with me. Don’t worry.”

Marian Lanouette
All the Pretty Brides (2019 Daphne du Maurier Finalist)


Andie Mills stood behind her weapon of choice—a slick black Nikon camera with a 70mm lens.

S.A.Taylor
Shutter (work in progress)


She palmed the weapon, the metal comforting. A quick gulp of air before she glanced under the bed. Nothing. The closet?

Marsha West


Sarah’s mouth went dry, and she turned, ready to use her camera as a weapon.

Sharon Wray


Left with no other option, she dropped, rolled, and came up fighting. “DEA, drop your weapons.”

Jacquie Biggar


He lowered his weapon, and his face softened. He smiled at me, a strange kind of recognition dawning.

Claire Gem